this is the 1st time I use this forum because after 2 days of seaching, googling and crawling on the web I'm still confused, how to proceed to my goal. Which is actually very simple: I'd like to build a RPi based quality player device for my father, he has a reasonably good hifi at home, medium sized (rather big) 3-way stereo, good-old Technics amp with RCA inputs - and his good-old Technics CD player.
But he plays the piano, he's very musical and has excellent hearing so I'd like to build him an audiophile player device in form of a flat set-top-box (or like a CD player, dac, etc).
My problem is not the solution itself - the RASPDAC Mini from Audiophonics would just fit my needs perfectly - if it had some more space for a 2.5" or even 3.5" NAS hard drive. (1-4 TB, connected via SATA3 - USB adapter and then connected to the Pi internally).
- So now I'm looking for somewhat bigger cases but then what kind of back panel do I use for the appliance ? There're tons of great aluminum cases out there, even mITX compatible ones, but the back panel is an issue then, I assume I would need something unique for that.
- I don't want to use the RASPDAC case with an external separate USB HDD, that's just not the same. I need 1 piece of do-everything device. However, the RASPDAC solution itself is very appealing to me, with the ES9038Q2M. Maybe I can put a reclocker (IANCANADA or Kali) between the Pi and the DAC hat, too (I need to check).
How would you proceed ?
Shall I maybe get all the Pi stack, put it into a good looking basic case from Aliexpress, get a back panel for the Pi itself and re-solder the DAC RCA outs onto that new back panel ? + of course a little PSU inside the whole stack, with proper shielding, separate PSU for the Pi, the 3.5" HDD and all that stuff and at the end I have the final solution..
I could also use a flat nice passive cooled mini ITX case and make all that happen on x86 platform, but such motherboards don't have I2S pins sadly so I cannot use this little 9038Q2M DAC board with that.
I just want to pack everything into one case so that my father doesn't have to deal with a DIY cable mess.
You seem to answered your original question yourself here . Decide what you want to enclose, find a nice case, and customise the back panel for outputs. I'd just be a bit wary of how warm it gets though, especially if using a RPi 4 (along with power supplies and HDD).
You'll have to make a back panel to suit - mark up, drill, file and spray paint. There are lots of nice cases on Ebay. Use short extension cables from RPi to back panel and a 2.5" USB HDD. RPi4 will need a decent heatsink and a fan - this can be powered from a USB port (I use a 12V fan on the 5V USB supply, it's very quiet)